Pryor Offenses: QB Loses Coach, Keeps Dealer?

In the aftermatch of Jim Tressel’s forced resignation today, Tressel’s replacement for the 2011 season, Luke Fickell, called a team meeting on Monday evening in Columbus.

(Monday night: NCAA-targeted Pryor in late model car with temporary tags)

During WBNS-TV reporter Dan Fronczak’s live standup outside the site of the meeting, the Columbus television station aired video of Terrelle Pryor arriving at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the all-hands gathering of Buckeye football players.

Part of that footage showed Pryor driving a late model vehicle outfitted with a temporary tag dated May 24. Here is a photo of the car, which is a 2007 Nissan 350Z:

Terrelle Pryor 2007 350Z

Four hours earlier, the COLUMBUS DISPATCH reported that the NCAA was currently investigating Pryor’s use of vehicles while enrolled as a football player at Ohio State - and before he signed with the school in 2008.

The NCAA and the Ohio State University’s compliance office are conducting an independent investigation of Terrelle Pryor amid allegations that the star quarterback may have received cars and other extra benefits, sources told The Dispatch today.

Pryor has been questioned by OSU compliance officials in the past, but sources said this is the most significant inquiry to date. He already has been interviewed at least once by investigators within the past few weeks, sources said.

Pryor and the cars he drives have been an issue since he arrived on campus three years ago. Pryor has been connected to more than a half dozen vehicles during his time at Ohio State, according to sources.

OSU officials previously said that even before Pryor arrived on campus in 2008, the NCAA examined the ownership of his vehicle and how it was paid for.

In January, The Dispatch reported that three times in the past three years, Pryor was stopped for traffic violations while driving cars that were owned by a car salesman or a Columbus used-car dealer for whom the salesman worked.

The salesman, Aaron Kniffin, told The Dispatch that while working at Jack Maxton Chevrolet in 2008, he allowed Pryor to drive his SUV to his hometown in Pennsylvania so that his mother could check it out. Pryor did not buy the vehicle.

Kniffin also said he arranged for Pryor to use a 2009 Dodge while Pryor’s car was being repaired at Auto Direct, a Columbus car dealership where Kniffin worked last fall.

About two dozen autographed jerseys hang inside Auto Direct’s office, including Pryor’s.

Kniffin also sold cars to Pryor’s mother and brother as well as dozens of other Buckeye athletes or their family members.

The temporary license tag on the late model vehicle Pryor was driving Monday evening on the Ohio State campus did not match the license plate cited in court records for Pryor’s most recent, documented traffic stops on April 4, 2010, and Feb. 17, 2011.

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